I can’t think of any human story that has impacted me as much as the story of Joan of Arc. I stumbled across Mark Twain’s account of her life last fall while wandering a local thrift store. In that moment I forgot all about the home decor I was in search of and thrilled to have gotten my hands on that book (and for $2 no less!). But even then I had no clue what the story would do to me.
Over the last six months I’ve studied her story, read multiple accounts of her life, and tried to put myself into her place. It’s been a wonderfully sobering journey. The challenges I face pale in comparison, and I don’t want to forget.
This past weekend my husband, Filipe, and I had the privilege of teaching through her story at South Bay Church. It felt like such an honor to share the courage of this young teenage girl. Right before we walked on stage Filipe asked me if I thought Joan was watching. I told him, I was wondering the same. Thinking of the possibility gave me more courage to walk out on that stage.
There’s a part of me has gotten used to having Joan close by these last six months, and the closing of this weekend almost feels like I’m saying goodbye to her. (Just typing those words brings tears to my eyes.) So here’s a letter to Joan.
I’ve spent the last six months learning about your life. Your story captivates me in ways I can’t express.
Part of me is jealous of you- your faith and your courage. Part of me is broken over how they treated you, and how you still responded with love and grace. How did you do it? Instead of yourself, you were praying for the King on your way to the stake that day- the King who refused to lift a finger to save you. You were so scared, but you were so brave.
Your faith inspires me to never settle, but to keep seeking God’s heart. His ways really are the best ways no matter if anyone around me notices them or not. God will speak if I’m listening and attentive to Him. And even if He doesn’t, He will never forsake me no matter how hard or dark life will be.
Your courage challenges me to never give up no matter what it may cost. God may ask me to do something hard- something He’s assigned only to me. In those moments when fear overcomes me or the thought of all eyes on me paralyzes me, I want to remember it’s God who will empower me.
You remind me it’s okay to do hard things- painful things, foolish things, embarrassing things. It’s okay to feel confused, scared, and wonder if you really are crazy. More than anything, you remind me that all that really matters is to keep my eyes on Jesus no matter what.
I can’t wait to meet you in heaven.
Below is the video of the message. The words on the intro video are excerpts from the preface of Mark Twain’s Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc.